Thursday Aug 14 2008
Active at 82
By: Matt Long
Folsom man doesn't let age get in the way of exercise
At 82 years old, some people are just glad to be alive. For Folsom’s George Waxham, he’s battling the aging process by eating right and staying active. Waxham, a retired elementary school teacher who taught for 34 years in Roseville, exercises every day. In July he participated in the Western States Masters International Invitational / Sacramento Senior Games and won four gold medals, as well as a silver medal. He didn’t win these medals by race walking either. Waxham is a sprinter. In his closest competition, Waxham won the 50-meter dash in 10.34 seconds, defeating Vernon Regier by four-tenths of a second. “I noticed that the guy to my left was a little ahead of me, but pretty soon I didn’t see him and I knew that I had beaten him,” Waxham said. Waxham also won the 100-meter dash in 22.45, the 200-meter dash in 54.64 and the long jump with a leap of 6.82 feet. He placed second in the shot put with a throw of 23.16 feet. As a teenager, Waxham ran for Hayward High’s track team before graduating in 1944 and joining the Air Force. He then spent two years at San Jose State before graduating from the University of Nevada-Reno in 1951. When he was in his mid-40s, Waxham began distance running, which included marathons and a few 50-mile runs, but then didn’t run for about 25 years. He didn’t start sprinting until about a year ago. “Exercising is what I enjoy doing,” Waxham said. “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. I always feel better after a workout.” At 5-feet, 6-inches tall and tipping the scales at 142 pounds, Waxham is in about as good of shape as he can be for 82 years old. He hasn’t always been in tip-tip condition, however. Eleven years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has survived that. Three months after his cancer surgery, Waxham had a quintuple bypass operation on his heart and is still going strong. “I credit my ability to exercise for living a healthy lifestyle,” Waxham said. “After my heart operation, I started reading a lot about nutrition and health and now I eat right. The average person doesn’t know what to eat and what not to eat. I go to Borders everyday and ready for about an hour.” Borders’ Inventory Supervisor Tom Rupp can speak to that. He sees Waxham all the time. “He’s always reading books on health and nutrition and then he tells me what he learns,” Rupp said. “He’s in here everyday. He’s a picture of health and to me he looks 20 years younger than he is.” Waxham’s 46-year-old son, Dana, runs Whole Fitness Personal Training in Placerville. He knows a thing or two about being in shape and frankly, his dad’s got bragging rights over him. “I figured my dad was sprinting so I’d give it a try,” Dana said. “I competed in the same meet that he did and pulled my hamstring. It was humbling seeing my 82-year-old dad sprint by and I’m sitting on the side with a pulled hamstring. “He’s such an inspiration. People come into the gym in their 60s and 70s and have never exercised and think they can’t do it and I tell them about my dad.” One of the reasons why Waxham sprints is because his body won’t let him run distances. He has poor circulation in his lower legs, which keeps him from running lap after lap. Waxham runs two to three days a week, doing sprints for about an hour on the bike path behind his apartment at “The Falls” off of Creekside Drive. He also rides his bike for about 90 minutes a couple times a week, works out on the treadmill for about 35 minutes a few times a week and also lifts weights three times a week. “I’m doing something everyday,” Waxham said. Waxham said he plans on exercising for as long as he can. His keys to living a long life including eating right, staying slim and being active.